Sautéed Okra is one of those really basic recipes with minimal ingredients, that is absolutely delicious and nutritious!
As we all know okra is a summer crop – the Indian grocery store near me has fresh okra piled up in the vegetable section. Growing up in India I have always been used to buying fresh vegetables from vegetable vendors who hawk their wares on carts or lay them out in small kiosks at street corners. They are never refrigerated- they come straight from the farms and are expected to be sold the same day or the next at the very latest.
My mom always picks the best ones from the pile (especially with okra, she will snip the bottom end with her fingers, and she will know if it is worth buying). She has various tricks up her sleeve for different veggies to determine if they are the right ones for the next recipe she is cooking. For example, she says the stalk of an eggplant should be green and that tells if it is tender or not. For ridge gourd the ridges should not be very sharp or deep. I have tried to pick up these nuances and have been getting better at it, but I still end up picking bad ones every now and then.
How to Pick the Right Okra
Well, with tips from my mom and my own experience over the years I recommend that you look for tender, green okra. As far as possible go for the small or medium rather than the large ones. Feel along the sides for seeds. If you can actually feel the seeds, the okra is not tender. It can also be pretty sticky and gummy and take a long time to cook. The tender ones are easier to cook and taste way better. Remember, you’re not adding many ingredients here- the main source of flavor and taste is the vegetable itself.
Prepping Okra for This Recipe
With most vegetables, I cut them and then wash them in a bowl before cooking. With okra however, I like to make sure it is absolutely dry before it goes into the pan because any additional moisture can make it stickier and it ends up taking longer to cook. I wash and dry/wipe okra with a paper towel (if you’re conscious of the environment, use a regular cloth towel to wipe each okra dry before it goes into the pan). The important thing is to ensure that it is perfectly dry and free of any chemicals.
Okra has long been favored as a food for the health-conscious. It contains potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium. It’s low in calories and has high dietary fiber content. Recently, a new benefit of including okra in your diet is being considered: Okra has been suggested to help manage blood sugar in cases of type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes!
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We have other delicious okra recipes you might want to check out:
- 1/2 Pound Okra Cut to small pieces
- 1/4 Cup Onion Fine cut
- 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder (or cayenne pepper)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt (or to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (Cold pressed, organic)
- Wash, dry and cut okra; cut onion, set in a bowl
- Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them splutter; add okra, onion, salt, mix well and set the lid on. Keep taking the lid off and stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Make sure the moisture/ stickiness is completely eliminated. Add chili powder, mix well; add coriander powder and mix well.
- Transfer to bowl and serve hot.